7 Inspirational Characters From K-Dramas About The Music Industry

It’s tough to make it big as an idol in Korea. Even performers who have debuted and become household names continue to struggle in an industry that demands perfection and is rife with competition. Dramaland has, of course, done a fantastic job of portraying this struggle with great dramas about talented characters fighting their way to the top, and even if it’s not your dream to be a star, you can find inspiration from their determination and hard work all the same. Below are inspirational characters from K-dramas you can emulate in your own fight to the top!

Choi Chun Hee – “Trot Lovers

Chun Hee (played by Jung Eun Ji) is a picture of grit and hard work. Driven by a desire to run competitively and provide for her struggling family, she works tirelessly and without complaint. At the beginning of the drama, she’s forced by her coach to give up her dream because she doesn’t know her limits and pushes herself too hard. She’s then fired from her job because her boss believes she’s stealing from the business, and her dad runs away after landing the family in massive amounts of debt. She’s left to care for her young sister and finds comfort in the one song her mom released as a trot performer before passing away.

Anyone would feel like crawling into bed with a tub of ice cream and doing nothing at all in that situation, but not Chun Hee! She finds a new dream, enters a music competition, and ultimately joins a music company and does what she needs to do to protect her sister and achieve her dream, all the while with a smile on her face; she’s such a positive ray of sunshine.


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Lee Soon Shin – “You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin

Poor Lee Soon Shin (played by IU) is seriously down on her luck at the beginning of “You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin.” Under extreme pressure from her family to sort her life out and start contributing financially, she falls for a scam when a man approaches her pretending to be from an important agency. On top of the embarrassment and dejection she feels from losing a lot of money, the man she likes clearly likes her sister, her mother is ashamed of her, and people keep teasing her for having the same name as the famous Korean admiral Lee Soon Shin.

But does she give up? Oh hell no! With a mixture of determination, talent, and kindness, Soon Shin finds herself represented by one of the top agents in the country and swiftly maneuvers her way from an actress to a singer and into the public eye. She’s an inspiration because she’s just so damn likable, and we can’t help but root for her to succeed!


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Lee Kyu Won – “Heartstrings

Lee Gyu Won (played by Park Shin Hye) is a sweet girl with good intentions who struggles to be a dutiful daughter while still pursuing her dream in traditional Korean music, which her father believes is a waste of time. She’s clumsy and silly at times and gets distracted by her interest in the male lead (a very cool Jung Yong Hwa), but after all is said and done, she’s professional and talented through and through. For a good chunk of the drama, Gyu Won tries to do what everyone else wants her to, but as more people start to recognize her potential and encourage her, she realizes that she’s meant to follow her dream. Of course, I’m not saying we should all be lying to our parents, but we can follow in Gyu Won’s footsteps when it comes to realizing our talent and potential and running after it!


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Joo Byung Hee – “Shut Up! Flower Boy Band

The leader of high school rock band Eye Candy (played by the charismatic Lee Min Ki) is all about passion. He’s passionate about music and his band, he’s passionate about his friends, and he’s somewhat too passionate about girls he meets in the street whom he immediately names his muse. We can’t all live fast and wild like Byung Hee, but we can take a few leaves out of his book when it comes to chasing after your dreams without reserve! Before the devastating twist in the series, Byung Hee is the driving force behind the band, keeping the gang together and making every experience big, loud, and exciting! Perhaps he would make a pretty good muse himself?


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Cindy – “Producer

Cindy (played by IU) debuted in the music industry at just thirteen years old and has been controlled by her agency since. She hasn’t visited a theme park or made any friends or seen her family, and it’s definitely had a negative affect on her social ability, being named the ‘Ice Queen’ by the media for her stoic face.

Cindy maintains a poker face in the media and feigns disinterest in making connections, but it’s clear she’s lonely and simply putting on a front, expressing regret at becoming famous and acknowledging all she lost as a result.

Through it all, though, she continues to be a badass. She may be putting up a front, but she’s doing it like a boss, dominating both on stage and off! Cindy has definitely been burned in the past and she doesn’t have a lot of people around her who have her best interests at heart, so it is commendable when she puts her trust in the producers of the show and builds real, lasting, and important relationships with them all. A role model not just for her strength but for the strength it takes to be weak around people too!

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Ha Neul – “Entertainer

Poor Ha Neul (played by Kang Min Hyuk) has it tough! He’s a talented singer and a good brother whose entire life is thrown into disarray when his friend accuses him of sexual assault, making him a pariah at school and in his community and definitely jeopardizing any chance he might have had in the industry. His demeanor doesn’t do him many favors either. With a cold expression, he doesn’t plead his innocence as much as he could, and seems to simply give up clearing his own name or trying to piece his life back together.

Thankfully, KTOP Entertainment head Shin Suk Ho (played by the beautiful Ji Sung) recognizes Ha Neul’s talent and forces him into a band and into the spotlight.

Ha Neul is a genuine character with a big heart, and despite what everyone says about him, he tries to do the right thing in every situation.

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Go Hye Mi – “Dream High

This drama is packed full of amazing artists portraying inspirational characters whose talent, combined with determination, is definitely worth emulating. If we were to choose just one, we’d have to pick Go Hye Mi (played by Suzy), for her resilience in the face of so much adversity. Similar to Choi Sun Mi, Hye Mi is struggling to pay back her absent father’s debt after the death of her mother. She’s caring for a younger siblings and facing the fear of failure in an industry she wants so badly to be a part of, all the while juggling a love triangle and tense friendships. We see her grit her teeth on several occasions before annihilating her enemies with a quick wit, and then see her break down and completely open up, revealing the anxieties she has been fighting to achieve her dream. Take a leaf out of Hye Mi’s book and do what ever it takes to get one step closer!


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Which characters from dramas about the music industry inspire you to work harder or be better? Let us know in the comments below!

MizWest is an English Teacher working in South Korea, accidentally walking up mountains and struggling to use chopsticks…  

Currently watching: “Wok of Love,” “Busted,” and “Are You Human Too
Looking forward to:  “Let’s Eat 3
All-time favorites: “Healer,” “Reply 1997,” and “Master’s Sun

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